News & Press

Spring-Summer 2014 Issue - Whirl Wedding Guide

January 2013 - Whirl Magazine

Behind the Bar with Pittsburgh Bartenders

What’s the difference between a good drink and a great drink? The right tools. Learn from three master mixologists on the secret weapons they keep in their bar arsenals. You’ll be inspired to refresh your in-home bar cart and bundle up for a sojourn to your choice barkeep.



Bar Manager of Perlé

Welsh assisted in the opening of Perlé and hasn’t looked back. The opportunist returned to the high-volume nightlife scene to construct craft cocktails with a Champagne spin, unique to the Pittsburgh bar scene.

Jennifer Welsh, Bar Manager of Perlé, Market Square

Jennifer Welsh, Bar Manager of Perlé



1. “We use a wine sealer to keep our Champagne fresh, especially because we do about 13 to 14 bottles by the glass. It puts CO2 back into the bottle. They’re able to hold a lot longer than they would without.”

2. “A lot of our cocktails on our specialty Champagne list have a lot of fresh juices in them. We constantly use a juicer to make those drinks.”

3. “We have a lot of requests for Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, and when it comes to whiskey, I prefer not shaking it, but stirring it.”

4. “We use the filter hand-in-hand with the juicer to remove some of the larger particles, like lemon and lime seeds. In conjunction, we use the peel for zesting.”

5. “The jigger is really a basic tool, but I’m really big into using them. I believe in getting the recipes down. If you have something a little off, it’s going to throw the entire drink off. Whenever I am making a cocktail, I like to use the jigger every time.”

6. “Since we do a lot of whiskey-based cocktails, we use a lot of bitters. We also make some in-house — this winter, we did a cranberry-orange-cinnamon bitters. The Fee Brothers’ bitters provide a really large range.” Pictured below are Black Walnut Bitters and Aztec Chocolate Bitters.

Behind the bar at Perlé, Market Square

Left: Welsh’s tools for mixing success.
Right: Perlé’s Manhattan Noir Champagntini, Rose Bud, Kir Rosé, and Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes D’or Brut ’99.



Designed for whiskey drinkers, the Manhattan Noir Champagntini is Welsh’s spin on the bar’s Manhattan Noir, offering black cherry notes and a pretty orange-pink hue.

A top seller, the Rose Bud is made with St. Germain, grapefruit juice, and rosé Champagne, and is nicknamed for Welsh, so it’s a personal favorite.

The cordial-based Kir Rosé is made with Courvoisier cognac and rosé. “It’s sort of X Rated meets Hpnotiq. Topped with Champagne, it’s simple, basic, and pretty smooth.” Garnished with a raspberry, this cocktail is a good go-to for male customers because of the cognac, says Welsh.

Backed by an admirable love story, this $400 bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Palmes D’or Brut ’99 was designed to win a famous opera singer’s heart. Black pearls decorate the vintage bottle, one of the highest-ranked among Champagnes.

Take a walk down lovers’ lane and spend Valentine’s Day at Perlé. The Lovers Lane of Champagne & World Tour Tasting features six Champagnes and Veuve Yellow Label.


Perlé — 25 Market Square, Downtown. 412.471.2058.

November 2013 - Whirl Magazine

9 Holiday Cocktails to Warm You Up This Season

We present nine delicious reasons to party indoors!


Pictured above, from left to right:

Crabapple Martini

Prepared with a mix of juiced and simmered crabapples, sugar, and hibiscus flowers, Restaurant ECHO’s Crabapple Martini is light and refreshing, says Brian Hammond, owner and executive chef. The “sophisticated and seasonal” cocktail is served using Boyd and Blair vodka, and is garnished with crabapples over the rim.

Hot Buttered Rum

Warm up with Braddock’s Pittsburgh Brasserie’s Hot Buttered Rum — a traditional cocktail with a special spin. Made with Sailor Jerry rum; hot water; English butter; brown sugar; a blend of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, and clove; and salt, this drink has all the amenities to keep you toasty.

Nog Mark III

A Pennsylvania native, Hammond kept his homesickness at bay while living in Southern California with his conception of “Nog Nights,” a tradition that he’s continued at Restaurant ECHO. With that, came delicious variations of an eggnog cocktail. This one in particular, Nog Mark III, is a blend of egg yolks and whites; sugar; whole milk; heavy cream; “delicious, dark, sexy rum;” ground coriander seeds; an orange; orange blossom water; and “a fine dust of cinnamon.” Hammond reserves a touch of the whipped sugar and egg whites “to give it a holiday afro.” He then torches the froth, and garnishes it with cinnamon and an orange rind.

Braddock’s Revenge

Executive Chef Jason Shaffer says this cool libation is ideal for escaping the chilly winter weather because of its spice. Concocted of muddled jalapeño, cilantro, and raspberries, Braddock’s Revenge is finished with Milagros tequila, Licor 43, lime juice, and a cinnamon-sugar-cayenne rim.

White Chocolate Mint Martini

Go green with this bold-colored brew by Walnut Grill mixologist Erica Rodriguez. The White Chocolate Mint Martini is prepared with green creme de menthe, vanilla vodka, and white creme de cacao, and poured into a glass that’s been drizzled with a creamy white chocolate sauce.

Peppermint Mocha Martini

Rodriguez says she was feeling festive when she mixed up this Peppermint Mocha Martini — a drink she knew would surely put everyone in the spirit, she says. Paying homage to one of Starbucks’ most popular holiday drinks, the seasonal bar staple at Walnut Grill is made with Kahlúa, peppermint schnapps, vanilla vodka, whipped cream, and is served in a chocolate-lined glass.

Cranberry Smash

This spin on a classic American cocktail is done right for the holidays at Perlé, says Managing Partner Pete Landis. The Cranberry Smash is made with Nolet’s gin; Sugar De Mure, or brown sugar; muddled cranberries and rosemary; and fresh lemon juice. Landis and his bartenders shake it and strain it over an ice rock for the perfect pour. A garnish of cranberries and rosemary completes the look.

Champagne Wonderland

The blue-sugar rimmed Champagne flute tops off this festive Champagne Wonderland cocktail of cognac, fig sugar, simple syrup, orange bitters, and sparkling wine. A holiday special at Perlé, Landis suggests if you’re making something similar in the comforts of home, fig preserves work just as well. Cue the sounds of Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.”

Claus and Effect

Cheers to this clever play on the Cosmopolitan. Monterey Bay Fish Grotto Beverage Director Nick Hayes mixes up the Claus and Effect with hibiscus flower, pomegranate-infused Absolut vodka, fresh blood oranges, SOLERNO blood orange liqueur, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and cranberry juice. “It’s not heavy, and has a comforting warmth to it for the frigid winter months,” says Hayes. The sugar-crusted rosemary sprig and cranberry garnish make for a savory stir with one twirl.

October 2013 - The Downtowner

The PDCDC Goes One-on-One with Pete Landis of Perlé

Pete Landis is no stranger when it comes to the restaurant business. He has worked in restaurants for over 17 years and also has family ties to Pittsburgh favorites. His great grandfather founded Nicholas Coffee Co. in 1919, and his uncle owns the famous Primanti Brothers.

Landis is managing partner of Perlé, the sophisticated European champagne and tapas lounge located in Market Square. Perle, opened in the summer of 2012, offers a twist to the nightlife scene. Not only does the lounge serve Mediterranean tapas, specialty cocktails, imported beers and wine, but serves French champagne on tap. You don’t need a special occasion to drink champagne at Perlé.

With a balcony overlooking a beautiful view of the city and Market Square, you can host your private parties at Perlé or enjoy a fun evening out on the town. Landis hopes to have a rooftop expansion in the future providing more space for guests to enjoy the view of the city. 

Private rentals are available Sunday through Tuesday while the nightlife scene begins on Wednesdays. Happy Hour is Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit the
website to checkout Perlé's menu.

October 2013 - Point Park News Service

Bond-Themed Champagne Event to Raise Money for Charity

Point Park News Service | October 2, 2013

By Madison Taylor, Point Park News Service:

From Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, cities will be throwing champagne parties of epic proportions this month in order to provide food and water to those in need.

Market Square’s Perlé Champagne Bar plans to hold Pittsburgh’s Global Champagne Party on Oct. 3 — just in time for the 51st anniversary of James Bond, the popular book and movie character. Guests are being asked to dress in James Bond attire to get into the 007 spirit as they enjoy a night of charity raffles, dancing, wine-tasting and even a Bond girl fashion show.

The event will raise money for the nonprofits Charity: Water and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Charity: Water provides clean water to people in developing nations, while the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank collects and distributes food to people in 11 counties of Western Pennsylvania.

“It’s a powerhouse of fundraising people,” co-host Stacey Howard said.

Howard initially became involved in the event to build her resume, but said she quickly became passionate about the cause.

“I want it to keep growing,” she said. “I want as many people to get involved as possible.”jamesbond

Howard will co-host with Kent Schmor, a visiting lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh who created and organized the global event.

“Part of the excitement is that I’m able to impact people,” Schmor said.

Schmor said his frequent travels have helped him build an extensive network, which ultimately allowed him to spread his fundraising idea across the world.

Now, hundreds of people in 10 cities — Austin, Texas; Avon, Colo.; Chicago; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; Philadelphia; Toronto and Zagreb, Croatia — are coming together for the common cause of helping people in need.

August 2013 - Pittsburgh Magazine

The 50 Best Drinks in Pittsburgh

Beer, wine, cocktails, coffee and beyond.

August 2013 Issue

Bottle of Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label
at Perlé

“Perlé” literally means “pearls” in French — but in the case of our local Champagne bar, it also refers to the bubbles that rise through a glass of Champagne. Sophistication is encouraged at Perlé, where marble countertops, sumptuous cushions and romantic lighting await the discerning patron. Even among Champagnes, Veuve Clicquot is no ordinary bottle of bubbly: The vineyard is older than our country, and the taste is timeless — a hint of peach and pear, with a refined finish. —RI

(25 Market Square, downtown; 412/471-2058,

June 8th, 2013 - Pittsburgh Tribune Review


TribLive Logo

Tapas balance champagne offerings at Market Square’s Perlé

Perle breakfast buckwheat crepe
About Sandra Fischione Donovan
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Freelance Reporter Sandra Fischione Donovan or at 412-320-7920

By Sandra Fischione Donovan
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Published: Saturday, June 8, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Saturday, June 8, 2013

“Perlé” is French for pearl and another term for the tiny bubbles in champagne, the ultimate celebratory beverage.

The owners of Perlé, a champagne and tapas lounge in Market Square, named their venture after those bubbles, even decorating the walls with ivory dimensional wallpaper with circles that evoke the effervescence of champagne.

Perlé opened last July as the latest offering of the Big Y Group, headed by French native and chef Yves Carreau. Big Y Group comprises NOLA, Sonoma Grill and Seviche — all here in Pittsburgh — and Talara in Baltimore. Partners in Perlé include Carreau, managing partner Peter Landis, executive chef Andrew Hebson, Jerry Fink and Jim O'Neill.

Landis, 31, an Upper St. Clair native now of Brookline, became acquainted with Carreau after Carreau rented space from Landis' extended family, who operate Nicholas Coffee and own other Market Square properties.

Perlé — pronounced per-LAY — evolved from a second-floor banquet facility into its current incarnation. Carreau and executive chef Hebson of Whitehall created the tapas menu, which Hebson, 36, says allows him and kitchen supervisor Julia Mirek, 35, of Dormont, to get “intimate with the food.”

“It's easy to get into champagne here, and the food complements it,” Landis says.

Order one of various champagnes or champagne-related drinks, such as a Bellini, and one might sample tapas such as Salmon Three Ways for $12 or a Pulled Pork Quesadilla with caramelized onions and cheddar jack cheese for $8.

Perlé offers a variety of Galettes Bretonne, traditional, savory buckwheat crepes from France's Brittany region. The crepes include Ratatouille — roasted eggplant, tomato, onion and chevre cheese — for $9; and Vietnamese Breakfast, with ham, egg, cheddar jack, caramelized onions, mango, toasted almonds and kicky sriracha sauce, also for $9.

Landis asked that sweet, dessert crepes be on the menu. Those include Nutella and chocolate crepes for $6 and Bananas Foster for $8.

Happy hours at Perlé include small plates at $1 each Wednesdays through Fridays. The Palate Pleasers include Shrimp Shooters, Crab Cakes and Smoked Salmon Blini, each for $1.

Perlé is on the second floor of NOLA, a New Orleans-theme restaurant that Hebson helped conceive for Big Y Group. A graduate of the former Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, Hebson “traveled around a lot” before returning to the area to work several different chef jobs.

After college, Mirek trained at Community College of Allegheny County's culinary school. She worked with Hebson previously at Bruschetta and most recently as a personal chef, “but the work had slowed,” she says.

Up a steep flight of steps, Perlé is not handicapped-accessible, but Landis says a few burly men recently carried a woman and her motorized wheelchair up to a banquet there.

Perlé is furnished with tres chic black-and-ivory low-slung sofas and coffee tables, aqua barstools and draperies, bronze French chandeliers and sleek, modern ceiling lights. A smoke-free balcony beckons patrons out for a magnifique second-floor view of Market Square.

“You almost feel you are in Europe, and that's what we were aiming for,” Landis says. The seating pieces are portable enough to make way for banquet settings on the days Perlé is not open to the public. Banquet foods may include menu items from either Perlé, NOLA or both, in what Landis calls “a symbiotic relationship.”

As for Perlé's menu, “sometimes the food gets overshadowed by the nightclub atmosphere,” Mirek says, but “people who love food really enjoy it.”

Sandra Fischione Donovan is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.


Vietnamese Breakfast Crepe

Using a Galette Bretonne crepe recipe of French native Yves Carreau of Big Y Group, Andrew Hebson, executive chef at Perlé, paired it with a filling that is a kind of culinary memoir of France's occupation of Vietnam.

Hebson uses French-inspired ingredients such as the crepe, ham, cheese, sour cream or creme fraiche and caramelized onions. He combines it with Vietnamese foods such as mango and sriracha sauce. The sweet mango and mellow cream counteract the spicy, yet flavorful, sriracha in this hearty and filling Vietnamese Breakfast Crepe.

The dish has two advantages. Firstly, the batter and fillings can be prepared the night before, refrigerated overnight and heated and assembled quickly in the morning. And secondly, this crepe, unlike many breakfast foods, is gluten-free. Despite its name, buckwheat is not a grass and is not related to wheat.


For the batter:

2 large eggs

13⁄4 cup water, divided

13⁄4 cup buckwheat flour, sifted, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 cup melted butter (cooled), plus extra for cooking


For crepe filling:

12-16 ounces ham, sliced

1 cup caramelized onions

1 cup jack or other mild cheese, shredded, divided

4 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup fresh mango, diced

8 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream

4 tablespoon sriracha sauce (a hot chili sauce)

4 tablespoons sliver almonds

4 tablespoons fresh mint, chiffonade

4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade


To prepare the batter: In a bowl, whisk the eggs with half the water (see photo 1). Add half of the sifted buckwheat flour and whisk the mixture to blend. Whisk in the rest of the water, then the remaining flour and the salt, then the butter (photo 2). Let the batter rest for two hours or overnight in a refrigerator.

Heat a large, heavy-bottom skillet (cast iron is ideal) to about 190 degrees. Lightly brush melted butter inside the pan. Place one ladle (about 1⁄4) of the batter on the bottom of the pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom (photo 3).

After the edges begin to cook, test the crepe gently with a rubber spatula. When the crepe is cooked, remove it from the pan.

To prepare the filling: Place 1⁄4 cup each of the ham and onions on the side of the skillet to warm, then 1⁄4 cup of the cheese, allowing it to melt over the ham and onions. Crack one egg on the other side of the skillet and fry it sunny-side up, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper (photo 4).

Place the ham, onion and cheese on the crepe and fold over (photo 5). Let the egg finish cooking, then top the crepe with the egg (photo 6). Garnish the crepe with 1⁄4 cup diced mango, then drizzle with 1 tablespoon each of the sour cream or creme fraiche and the sriracha sauce. Top with 1 tablespoon each of the almonds, mint and basil. Repeat for three more crepes.

Makes 4 servings.

Copyright © 2013 — Trib Total Media

Read more:

February 2013 - Pittsburgh Magazine

Where We're Eating in February

By Kristina Martin

Peter Landis,  Managing Partner | Perlé

This Valentine’s Day, local lovebirds are bound to pop bottles of bubbly — but what they may not know is that Perlé, the downtown Champagne bar recently mentioned in Food & Wine’s list of top five U.S. bubbly spots, actually has it on tap. Expert Peter Landis talks about his favorite kind — and shares suggestions, too.   

Personal interest in Champagne?
When I’d celebrate with family, it was always there. It’s definitely a celebratory drink.

Most memorable vintage?
The 1990 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Rosé Reserve. Bright and refreshing.

How’s your personal collection?
Compared to Yves [Carreau, business partner], I’m a novice. I’ve been collecting the last three years and have an average of 60 to 70 bottles in my wine cellar — though the collection grows at times.

Any misconceptions about bubbly?
That Dom Pérignon created it alone.

Offbeat pairing tip?
Most sparkling wines go well with salty foods like potato chips, or dare I sound pretentious, caviar.

Surefire bubbly pick for Valentine’s Day?
I’d probably go with a rosé, like a vintage. Maybe Veuve 2004 or 1990.

Favorite thing about Champagne?
What I love about wine, spirits, food — it’s something to do to elevate the senses. Like an interactive game for adults.

25 Market Square, downtown; 412/471-2058,

December 2012 - City Paper


December 05, 2012 Food+Drink » On The Rocks

Champagne bar Perlé welcomes novice and expert alike 

Downtown club uses clever cocktails, and new technology, to make Champagne available to the masses


"Everyone thinks that champagne is just for celebratory reasons — unless you're of the upper echelon," says Peter M. Landis, managing partner of Perlé, a champagne-and-tapas lounge in Downtown's Market Square.

Indeed, a quick glance at Perlé's extensive menu of bubbly may well seem intimidating to the novice. Perlé boasts more than two dozen champagne selections, including exclusive vintages like Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. 

"A lot of people come in and are very hesitant about ordering champagne," bar manager Jennifer Welsh acknowledges. "They feel like they don't know a lot about it," she says.

But Perlé is doing everything it can to make drinking champagne a more inclusive experience.

One of the biggest challenges in serving champagne, Landis notes, is that "once you open [a bottle], you can't put the pressure back in," and you quickly lose the effervescence that champagne is known for. That's why many bars have just one or two champagnes — usually cheaper brands — available by the glass.

Landis is working with Greensburg fabricator Tony Garrow to build a proprietary system of hermetically sealed champagne taps, which would keep a bottle fresh for several days. He's been using the system intermittently to work out the kinks (the flavor goes off if the wine sits for a few days). "It's still a prototype," Landis says, and while it's out of commission now, "we'll get it working."

In the meantime, Welsh created a line of champagne cocktails to complement the established classics on the menu.

Her take on the Bellini is especially successful: She replaces peach purée with Lambic Peche beer. The result is a cocktail with greater depth of flavor than the classic, while still retaining a perfume peach nose. 

And what if you are part of the economic 1 percent, the type of patron who feels utterly at home hoisting a dipped-in-gold, $475 bottle of Armand De Brignac? Perlé's palatial balcony overlooking Market Square is as good as any place in Pittsburgh to do so. 

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story understated the number of Champagnes available at Perlé.


December 2012 - Food & Wine Magazine

August 8th, 2012 - Pop City Media

Perle French-Mediterranean champagne and tapas lounge now open in Market Square

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Market Square's latest dining destination, Perle, has made it very easy to celebrate.  In addition to a long list of bottles, the French-Mediterranean tapas lounge has six varieties of champagne on draft.

As the renovated Market Square has quickly filled with restaurants, Perle is offering a new nightlife concept that has been missing from this area of Downtown.

The beige interior features an open ceiling that allows light fixtures to circulate throughout the lounge, a visual ode to champagne’s signature bubbles, or pearls, after which the space is named. 

Along with flutes of champagne, the bar has created a list of champagne cocktails that includes classic recipes with French and Greek liquors, as well as interpretations of drinks like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Gin Twist.

Perle’s small menu has around 20 dishes, including French crepes, and tapas offerings designed for sharing.

Perle is a project of Peter Landis and the Big Y Group, owned by Yves Carreau.  Carreau's other restaurants include NOLA, located just next-door, as well as Seviche, and Sonoma.

Located above Bruegger’s Bagels, at 24 Market Square, Perle features a small open-air balcony that is a first for the square in recent years.  Although too small for tables, guests are able to bring drinks outside and overlook Market Square.

The amenity adds a New Orleans-Bourbon Street feeling, says bar manager Jennifer Welsh, which combined with NOLA’s sidewalk dining enhances the streets overall aesthetic.

Perle opens Wednesday through Saturday at 4 p.m., and closes late (2 p.m.) on weekends.

Writer:  Andrew Moore

Aug. 2nd, 2012 - Post-Gazette Article

Champagne bar Perle the latest spot to boost Market Square revival


 Bill Wade/Post-Gazette Yves Carreau, left, who created the restaurants Sonoma, Seviche and NOLA, stands with his business partner Peter Landis at Perle in Market Square, their new nightclub that has champagne on tap.Bill Wade/Post-Gazette

Yves Carreau, left, who created the restaurants Sonoma, Seviche and NOLA, stands with his business partner Peter Landis at Perle in Market Square, their new nightclub that has champagne on tap.


August 2, 2012 12:00 am

Wednesday night, the champagne flowed like beer -- literally -- at the official opening of Perle (accent on the e), a French-Mediterranean tapas lounge on Market Square, Downtown.

Named after the word French vintners use to describe the pearly bubbles in bubbly, Perle may just be one of the first places anywhere to offer champagne on tap, from a $7 glass of Marquis de la Tour to a $19 glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. Of course, you can still get your Moet, your Cristal or your Dom Perignon there, too, but out of a bottle.


25 Market Square

Downtown 412-471-2058

Hours: 4 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays-Thursdays; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays (kitchen closes at midnight.). Private parties other days.

Valet parking: $5 per night for unlimited visits to any Market Square restaurant.

Peter Landis, the 30-year-old member of a family long involved in the Pittsburgh restaurant and food business, says he's figured out how to draw champagne from a tap. While champagne in a bottle loses a little fizz when it's opened and every time thereafter, he said he has designed a system that keeps champagne at the same pressure through repeated pours.

Just how Mr. Landis devised a champagne tap is a trade secret -- he has a patent lawyer scouting around to see if others have come up with similar ideas -- but he says representatives of Veuve Clicquot and Perrier-Jouet, both premier French Champagne houses, have visited Perle to inspect them.

"They're interested, but they're going to wait and see how we do," he said.

Given Market Square's current booming business in eateries, Perle may do very well, despite its second-floor location over a Bruegger's bagel shop.

It's not just any second floor, either. Just as with so many other buildings on the Square, there is a rich history behind the space. It was once a famed jazz nightclub in the 1970s called Walt Harper's Attic (the Bruegger's was once a state liquor store), whose headliners included Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme and Wynton Marsalis.

Mr. Landis' own roots in Market Square run deep. He is the great-grandson of the man who founded Nicholas Coffee Co., Pennsylvania's oldest coffee roaster, in 1919. Mr. Landis, along with his first cousin Jordan Nicholas, 27, represent the fourth generation of a family that, besides Nicholas Coffee, owns 10 buildings on Market Square that they've leased to other restaurateurs: NOLA on the Square, Sienna Sulla Piazza, La Cucina Flegrea, among others. They also run three dining establishments there: Diamond Market, Primanti's and now -- due to Mr. Landis' involvement -- Perle.

The family's current patriarch is Nick Nicholas, whose sister Diane is Mr. Landis' mother. Mr. Nicholas' son, Jordan, runs Nicholas Coffee Co. and is an investor in Diamond Market. Nick Nicholas also owns Primanti Brothers (which has 19 other locations) with his longtime business partner Jim Patrinos.

Indeed, it's a family business, Greek-flavored, which means that best friends and distant cousins are called "Uncle." Mr. Landis refers to "Uncle" Jim Patrinos, who, beginning in 1974, bought Primanti Brothers' sandwich shop in the Strip and grew it into a chain and a symbol of Pittsburgh's down-to-earth character.

Before there was a South Side, he says, people came to Market Square and the area that is now PPG Place to drink and party at more than 15 bars. But by 1980, the party had moved elsewhere.

"I've been waiting a long time for a turnaround," said Nick Nicholas, who had begun buying up property in Market Square in 1978, only to see the space spiral into decline. "And it's finally happened."

Dovetailing with other Downtown restaurant businesses, Mr. Landis is a managing partner with Yves Carreau, whose Big Y Group owns Sonoma, Seviche and NOLA. Mr. Landis has worked in restaurants since he was a child -- he was the night manager at Primanti's in Oakland while attending Upper St. Clair High School ("I had more tardy notices than any other student," he says with a laugh). He also was general manager of Il Pizzaiolo in Mt. Lebanon, which is opening a second restaurant on Market Square next to Starbucks.

Jordan Nicholas agreed that Market Square is on the upswing. "Our family has always had a presence in Market Square and we always had a desire to see it succeed, and we feel like we're finally there."

He recalls when it was a ghost town. "We tried to rent out buildings to other people but nobody wanted to take a chance. Now people are lining up, but it's too late -- every place is taken. Every day after work I go over to the Diamond Market and there are people who have actually decided to stay Downtown, not rushing home to the suburbs."

Perle feels very much like a European nightclub, from the long marble bar to the chandeliers to the low-slung couches to a menu heavy on Mediterranean tapas. There's a DJ, and a new balcony where guests can look out over Market Square sipping a Bellini or a Pimm's Cup. There are interesting cocktails, too. For $5, there's valet parking all night, regardless of how many eateries or nightspots you go to.

Mr. Landis, a Robert Morris graduate who received his master's in business from a university in northwest Greece, has lived in that country on and off throughout his life, spending a lot of time in European clubs. Five years ago, he announced to his family that he wanted to open a cafe in Greece.

"My uncle said, 'You're an idiot, come back to the states, the economy isn't doing well and it's going to get much worse.' At the time it wasn't that bad, but as usual he was he right."

The idea for a champagne bar came to him one evening a year ago, when he was sitting in Market Square with his friends Lucas Piatt, the developer, and, Emilio Cornacchione, proprietor of Izzazu Salon.

"We looked at that spot above Bruegger's," he said. "And after seeing how busy NOLA was, we thought, we really need another night spot."

Then he read a piece in a restaurant industry magazine about someone who had put an herbal liqueur, Fernet Branca, on tap in California, and his mind started working -- as someone groomed from childhood to be a restaurateur can only be.

"I'm all over the place, but I love problem solving, making a business plan, finding a location, working with contractors, staffing it -- it's a lot of stress, but you're constantly meeting a ton of different people from all walks of life." .

"I'm Greek, and I believe in Greek hospitality."

And French champagne -- on tap.

Mackenzie Carpenter: or 412-263-1949.

First Published 2012-08-02 00:36:38


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25 Market Square
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PH: (412) 471-2058
Fax: (412) 471-2059



Copyright © 2012 - Big Y Group and Perlé

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